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By Alan Blank | February 14, 2009
Costa Mesa paid more than $15 million toward employee pensions in 2008 and about $7 million in overtime pay. The average firefighter in the city racked up $35,000 in overtime pay in addition to an average salary of more than $85,000. Perhaps as a result of the compensation, when the Fire Department was trying to fill seven vacancies late last year, more than 400 people applied for the jobs within a few days, according to Fire Chief Mike Morgan. Mayor Allan Mansoor says the costs of paying employees is crippling the city, which will have to draw more than $11 million from its savings to balance the current fiscal year’s budget because of losses in sales tax revenue, according to the most recent numbers from the finance department.
By Alan Blank | February 12, 2009
Local lawmakers said they aren’t happy about the newest proposal to balance California’s budget and will almost certainly vote against it on the grounds that it contains new taxes, but some say it may go through whether they like it or not. The framework for a compromise forged by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and leaders from each party in each house in closed-door meetings proposes to deal with the projected $42-billion budget deficit...
By Alan Blank | February 9, 2009
Just a few months after revenue concerns caused Costa Mesa to cut $8.4 million in expenditures from this year’s budget, the city is staring down another revenue shortage. Costa Mesa relies most heavily on sales tax to pay its bills, and although no local numbers are available yet, national data show a 10% decline in retail sales for the fourth quarter of this year. If Costa Mesa followed national trends, then its revenues will be $4.5 million less than current projections, according to city financial analysts.
By Brianna Bailey | December 19, 2008
Sales tax revenue in Newport Beach is down about 20% from the same time last year, city officials said Friday. The sluggish sales tax figures could mean a loss of about $4 million in tax revenue for the city this fiscal year if the trend continues, said Newport Beach administrative services director Dennis Danner. “It’s too soon to tell” how the sluggish sales tax figures will affect services in Newport Beach, City Manager Homer Bludau said. The City Council is likely to discuss the issue in January at its annual retreat, he said.
November 12, 2008
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is pushing for an increase of the sales tax by 1 1/2 cents along with new fees on alcohol and the oil industry as well as deep cuts in services to overcome a budget hole that could swell to more than $24 billion by mid-2010. How should the state cure its budget ills?   Since 2003 Gov. Schwarzenegger has grown government at fast clip. Rather than increasing sales tax collections by more than 21% in a weak economy, the governor should first seek to eliminate or reduce newly enacted government programs.
By Alan Blank | November 6, 2008
Newport-Mesa’s local state lawmakers said they will not support Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposal to raise the state sales tax by 1.5%, despite his proposed cut in government spending of $4.5 billion. Schwarzenegger called the legislature back up to Sacramento on Thursday to announce the plan and begin an emergency session to try to resolve a recently projected $11.2-billion budget shortfall before Nov. 30, when this legislative cycle ends. He called the plan a compromise in a news conference, noting that it asks for almost equal amounts of cuts and new taxes.
By Chuck Cassity | August 23, 2008
I remember the day like it was yesterday. I fought my way through a late November, zero-degree ice storm and eight foot snow drifts to reach Lambert Field in St. Louis so I could catch a flight to LAX. I was excited. My first visit to Southern California! I would not be disappointed. The 727’s cabin door opened and I stood there transfixed; palm trees swaying in the distance, bright, hazy sunshine, 76 degrees, a breeze and about 35% humidity. I realized that day that I was a California boy born by a cosmic accident somewhere else.
By Allan Mansoor | July 29, 2008
A recent Daily Pilot editorial (“Hiking hotel tax shouldn’t be 1st option,” July 20) advocated against the city of Costa Mesa raising taxes, and I could not agree more. The idea to raise taxes came at the strong urging of Councilwoman Linda Dixon, and Councilwoman Katrina Foley said she would be “supportive of a specific tax” for a specific purpose as opposed to a general tax. My thanks to Mayor Eric Bever and Councilwoman Wendy Leece for their opposition to more taxes.
April 28, 2008
OCC to host 9th small business conference OCC plans to put on its ninth annual Orange County Small Business Conference on Saturday, with workshops in marketing, starting a business and keeping track of finances. The program, sponsored by OCC?s Business and Computing Division and the OCC Foundation, is scheduled to run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the campus student center. Admission is $25, with a free continental breakfast for attendees who sign up in advance. The event features three main workshop tracks ?
By MIKE WHITEHEAD | February 22, 2008
Ahoy, The discussion of a sales tax loophole for new yacht sales is in the news again as it is an easy target for politicians to say they will change the law to save the poor. It is not a loophole but a provision written in California’s tax code that if you purchase a yacht in California and remove the vessel out of the state for more than 90 days you will not have to pay sales tax. The law was originally written to bring yacht sales back to California, as well as sales of private airplanes and jets, because buyers simply bought in states with no sales tax. Politicians report that changing the law to one year would increase sales tax revenue, but this is short-sighted thinking that does not bring the whole industry into account.
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